protestpoems.org is taking a new direction -
In November 08 we will begin publishing an edited journal of protest poetry.
protestpoems.org plans to present powerful poetry that protests injustice and witnesses to current events. Speak out for human rights (and humans wronged)! The journal will be updated twice monthly and readers can subscribe to receive poems in their readers or by email.
Read Evie Shockley's "call to words".
Please consider submitting your excellently crafted expressions of fury and hope.
See the poet's guidelines for more information. And check out the current call for action.
See you in November!
a call to words
—for saw wei
poetry is not the art of silence. . . .but it can
encompass quiet. . . .meditation. . . .the moments when we
attend to breath or thought without speaking
cacophony is only one
end of its spectrum. . . .there are spaces between words
politics is not an art. . . .but politicians do
exercise craft. . . .their media include words. . . .but
also wool. . . .white noise. . . .and wars. . . .they
cough can’t say and can’t do all day and night into our
ears. . . .we’ve forgotten the sound of our own voices
personal lives are our proper domain we’re told. . . .so
explain to me where they lie. . . .what spaces
are private when our rulers use their power to
control our bedrooms and bodies. . . .to clamp down our lips on
every word of potential dissent
people. . . .we must all become poets
each of us must cultivate the difficult art of
articulating personal lives in political terms. . . .we must
create words that drown out the noise of war. . . .poetry must
excavate a space for the silence that is evidence of peace
February 20, 2008.
The Burmese poet Saw Wei (Saw Wai) was arrested on January 22, 2008 for writing a poem.
Saw Wei is a well-known poet and performer whose philanthropic works include raising funds for AIDS orphans. He took part in the 1988 uprising and has headed a performance group called “White Rainbow”.
His acrostic poem (titled “February the Fourteenth”) stated that General Than Shwe is power-crazed.
For this he was arrested and is being held incommunicado at the Insein Prison, which is known for the use of physical and psychological torture.
According to a report in Mizzima News, Saw Wei’s family was permitted to visit him on the 20. February. His wife reports he is good health, but has not been given a trial date. The journal which published the poem has been permitted to resume publication. (IFEX, Amnesty Int. and PEN have not posted updates yet, please pass on information if you have it.)